Local hospitals recognized as ‘high performing’ in maternity care, per new report

Both Premier Health and Kettering Health were recognized as having ‘high performing’ hospitals in the area of maternity care, according to a new report from U.S. News and World Report.

Premier’s Miami Valley Hospital and Upper Valley Medical Center, along with Kettering Health’s main campus, Soin Medical Center, and its Washington Twp. location, were among the hospitals listed on the second annual list of hospitals for best maternity care.

Nearly 650 hospitals across the U.S. participated in the evaluation process for U.S. News’ maternity care report, providing U.S. News with labor and delivery services and submitting data for analysis. Just under 300 hospitals received a “high performing” designation, which is the highest recognition a hospital can earn in maternity care.

“When expectant parents are considering their options for welcoming a baby into the world, the Best Hospitals for Maternity Care is designed to help them identify hospitals that excel in delivering babies for uncomplicated pregnancies,” said Min Hee Seo, senior health data scientist at U.S. News.

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Hospitals, including those with Premier and Kettering Health, also received additional recognition for tracking and reporting their outcomes for patients of different races and ethnicities. Seo said uncovering disparities is one of the steps needed to address those disparities and close those gaps.

“We have put processes in place to purposefully tackle specific issues that impact maternal and infant mortality and morbidity,” said Melissa Merritt, associate chief nursing officer, Berry Women’s Center, Miami Valley Hospital. “This award reflects those quality initiatives.”

One of the metrics taken into consideration was C-sections, or Cesarean section, which Merritt said Premier has been working to decrease the number of first-time mothers who undergo a C-section. Once a first-time mother has a C-section, future pregnancies will likely have to undergo C-sections, Merritt said, and additional surgeries means extra potential for health risks.

“We work diligently to avoid a C-section if at all possible,” Merritt said.

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Approximately five to six years ago, Premier’s C-section rate for first-time mothers was around 30%, and now it is around 24%, Merritt said. Miami Valley Hospital sees approximately 3,500 births, and system-wide, Premier sees about 4,500, Merritt said.

“We have a lot of deliveries come through,” Merritt said.

Merritt credited the work culture at Premier, saying employees prioritize safety, as well as listening to input from each other. Doctors listen to nurses, and nurses listen to doctors, she said, adding, “More importantly, we’re listening to the patients.”

In addition to C-sections for first-time, low-risk pregnancies, they also plan on paying attention to hypertension, or high blood pressure during pregnancy.

“Maternal hypertension is one of the primary drivers of maternal and fetal mortality, morbidity rates,” Merritt said.

Miriam Cartmell, network executive director of Kettering Health Women’s and Children’s Services, also said Kettering Health is participating in statewide initiatives to address maternal hypertension. While the U.S. News report on maternity care did not factor in hypertension data as the report focused on uncomplicated pregnancies, Cartmell said maternal hypertension can occur anytime in a pregnancy, including sometimes at the time of labor.

“This recognition is a direct result of the excellent, high-quality care our maternity teams provide to our patients,” said Cartmell about the U.S. News report on maternity care. “It helps new and expectant parents feel confident in choosing a Kettering Health facility for maternity care.”

Cartmell also recognized their staff and work practices, saying their processes are standardized across hospitals in Kettering Health as much as possible.

“You are having the same policies, the same physician orders, the same quality evaluation done regardless of where you deliver,” Cartmell said. “That creates a synergy for all of us to be working toward the same goals in the same manner.”

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